Tuesday, April 20, 2004


page 23, sentence 5: an autopsy
The "page 23, sentence 5" meme (hereafter referred to as p23s5) caught my attention due to its pandemic spread through the blog community, and its relative virulence among my own little, largely meme resistant affinity group ...

(via anil's daily links)

There's the meme and then there's the meme-tracking mutation which is also spreading. I'm still puzzled as to what it is about this one that incites investigation. My personal case history might include a note about a past association with Kaleidoscope, where each week Kevan would create six tasks for the players, some of which bore a resemblance to the nature of p23s5. Many of these could have spread, I'm not sure if they ever did. Which is also puzzling.
Is it the appeal of the random, the mysterious hold of chance? The instructions read like a recipe, extracted and uncited, the imperative rendered meaningless. But apparently lifted from somewhere to float about in the air, beguilingly, waiting to catch bloggers unaware. And then the elusive somewhere itself seems to promise meaning...
Maybe I was hoping to find a hidden game in the meme, a kaleidoscopic system somehere in the epidemiology.

In the meantime the Incoming Signals strain continues.

Comments: p23s5

Mm, I did wonder if any of the Kaleidoscope tasks would outlive the game, but they were all pretty untraceable, and the good ones probably demanded too much thought and effort. Successful LiveJournal memes and quizzes and stupid-web-toys just require a tiny shred of effort to generate a clump of "personalised" information, which can then be posted as original content (which is where the appeal and compulsion lies, I think).
Posted by Kevan at April 21, 2004 12:22 AM

This one was more clever and effective than most because the tiny shred of customization involved books, random and personal, and gave a bonus 'literary' edge to the content.
The randomness works best. To try to compose a good sentence from a careful selection is a different exercise. (Goodbye Fondue)
However there is also something of 'the call of the collage' in it too, which is why we have wanted to take it further I guess.

Kaleidoscope may have got us doing the two exercises and comparing them. Or searching for a
pXsX code in 5 random books that would deliver the best sentence?!
Complex, fun and missed.

Posted by boynton at April 21, 2004 11:52 AM

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